About me


I was a civil servant (tax professional) for nearly 27 years, with roles including Director of Corporation Tax, International and Anti-Avoidance in HMRC and Head of Corporate Tax in HM Treasury. Most recently, I was HMRC Director of Large Business, before leaving the civil service in March 2016 to pursue wider interests and to be free to comment.

I am a Governor at University of Hertfordshire, and prior to my civil service career was an academic in Linguistics at SOAS, University of London.

I am also an amateur pianist. You can hear me play Janáček on Radio 3 – James Rhodes’ Saturday Classics, 20 August 2016 – here. I’ve also uploaded a micro-recital on the blog, and as a YouTube playlist.



Germany’s big tax scandal: lessons for the UK (AccountingWEB, July 2017)

Tax and the Taylor Review (CoVi Responsible Tax Lab, July 2017)

One minute with … Judith Knott (Tax Journal, October 2016)

Making Tax Digital: The legal hurdles (report of discussion with Rebecca Cave: AccountingWEB, October 2016)

Philip Hammond should shelve Osborne’s plan to cut corporation tax (LSE British Politics and Policy blog, July 2016)

As HMRC Director:

Q&A: The view from HMRC’s Large Business Directorate (Tax Journal, November 2015)

Roundtable discussion: tax competitiveness and CFC reform (report of discussion with Ian Brimicombe, John Overs, Mark Edwards and Tim Voak: Tax Journal, November 2011)

International Collaboration (with Narmada de Silva: Tax Journal, June 2009)

From my previous life as a linguist:


Phonological change and inflectional morphology: a case from the Low German and Dutch dialects (Transactions of the Philological Society, vol.84 /1, 1986)  [peer-reviewed journal]

Other articles

The causative-passive correlation (1988, included in Subject, Voice and Ergativity, ed. Bennett, Bynon and Hewitt, 1995 – along with translations from Russian of 2 articles)

Causative-passive links (1987, included in Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Linguists, ed. W Bahner, 1990)

Book review

Jadranka Gvozdanović: Language system and its change (reviewed 1987, Journal of Linguistics, vol.23/2)

And finally …

Unpublished PhD thesis: A study of analogical change: vowel alternation in the verb in the Low German and Dutch dialects (1985, University of London, SOAS, Dept of Linguistics)

[of interest mainly as a relic of early PC technology: printed in high-quality dot-matrix font on fine-perforation paper, with isogloss maps in manuscript (late 20th-century felt-tip pen on photocopy)]